University of California, San Diego Medical Center and Molecular Imaging Corporation open molecular imaging facility

San Diego 22 August 2003A subsidiary of Molecular Imaging Corporation has entered into definitive agreements with the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) to open and operate a state-of-the-art facility that will offer Positron Emission Tomography (PET) patient imaging services. The facility will be known as the "University of California, San Diego Center For Molecular Imaging". Under the terms of the agreements, UCSD School of Medicine radiology faculty will provide all clinical patient support services and the company will manage the business operations of the centre.

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The facility will serve the UCSD health care patient population and the greater San Diego metropolitan area. UCSD and the company plan to upgrade the current PET scanner to a PET/CT in the near future, and add a MicroPET imaging system for clinical research to serve the needs of San Diego's research and biotechnology companies.

"The molecular imaging and pharmaceutical sector has introduced an entirely new modality and approach for practising medicine for the diagnoses and treatment of disease", stated William G. Bradley, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiology, UCSD School of Medicine. "In the case of cancer, the PET scanner operates by measuring, with high accuracy and specificity, regions or organs with heightened metabolic activity, characteristic of the presence of a malignant tumour."

"Simultaneously it detects the tumour's specific size, dimensions and location in the body. For cardiology studies, the PET scanner provides the highest degree of accuracy in imaging perfusion and cardiac viability. The PET scanner is also useful in observing hypo-metabolic activity in the brain that is indicative of functional disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The addition of MicroPET would fill a significant need of clinical researchers in the area, as they would be able to use molecular imaging as a tool for designing and monitoring clinical trials, accelerating the development process and predicting which patients may or may not respond to a particular developmental treatment", explained Dr. Bradley.

"The establishment of this facility and formal relationship with UCSD represent significant milestones for our company", stated Paul Crowe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Molecular Imaging Corporation. "This new molecular imaging facility with UCSD is focused on serving the clinical needs of the UCSD patient population and an academic setting for future research programmes."

In a related transaction, a subsidiary of the company has acquired a cyclotron facility that is also located at the same address as the "University of California, San Diego Center For Molecular Imaging". The company will manage the business operations of the cyclotron facility. The cyclotron will provide the company with the capability to produce the radio-isotope fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), the most commonly used radiopharmaceutical in molecular imaging. The company and UCSD plan to collaborate in future research programmes for the development of other radio-isotopes that may be useful in the fields of neuroscience and cardiology.

"The addition of the cyclotron will offer significant commercial benefits for our existing physician and hospital customer base in Southern California", stated Paul Crowe. "We believe that through this vertical integration of our PET imaging and radiopharmaceutical production services we will have a distinct competitive advantage in Southern California."

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a medical imaging procedure that displays metabolic and functional characteristics of disease. Other conventional imaging procedures such as X-Ray, Computed Tomography (CT), Diagnostic Ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems provide physicians with anatomical information. Because diseases like cancer and cardiac and neurological disorders often exhibit altered metabolism before the anatomy is changed, PET helps physicians effectively detect and stage these problems at their earliest stages. That information helps define and guide appropriate treatment options, which can eliminate redundant testing, hospitalisation, or non-beneficial therapies.

A cyclotron is used to produce radionuclides such as Fluorine-18, Nitrogen-13 and Oxygen-15, which are used in Positron Emission Tomography. FDG is a glucose-based radiopharmaceutical labeled with Fluorine-18 that is injected before a PET scan. FDG metabolism is detected by the PET scan in the form of an image. Abnormal concentrations of glucose can indicate areas of malignancies.

MicroPET provides researchers in the biomedical sciences with a compact and very high-performance PET system that can be used to non-invasively image a wide range of laboratory animals in a routine laboratory setting. It is a relatively low cost PET scanner with unprecedented spatial resolution that is useful to researchers in a wide range of biomedical research applications.

Molecular Imaging Corporation is a national service provider of Positron Emission Tomography imaging to the health care industry. PET is a powerful, information-based, molecular imaging procedure used to diagnose, monitor and assess disease severity for many cancers, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. The company operates 20 mobile and permanent or fixed imaging sites for hospitals, medical centres and physician offices in 22 states across the United States. To date, the company has provided over 50.000 PET procedures.


Leslie Versweyveld

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